Cajun dictionary of Lousiana foods, Part II
Essential to understand when cooking to achieve the simple tastes of the gourmet Cajun.
Fais do do: (fay-do-do) this is a traditional S. LA. Dance party with Cajun and Zydeco music. When you learn the steps and do them at any dance, you will be picked out as a Cajun. No one anywhere else matches that dance step. You have to be in trim shape to dance that kind of fais do do all evening.
File: (fee-lay) Ground sassafras leaves used to thicken and flavor gumbo.
Grattons: (grah-tawns) A Cajun word for Cracklins. It's the original Cajun snack food! The area sells then in brown paper pages and you just eat and eat and eat, especially when heated/ Grillades; (gree-yahds) this is beef or veal round steak
That is browned, then simmered until tender in browned tomato sauce and is served over rice or grits.
Gumbo: (Gom-bo) a deep rich Cajun stew often thicken with Okra or File (See def. listed). Some popular types
Is Chicken Gumbo, Shrimp Gumbo. There are as many ways to make gumbo as there are Chefs in Louisiana (LA).
Hushpuppies: A cornbread-type mixture formed into balls and fried until crispy and golden on the outside. You can add many different types of filler in the mixture re: onions, peppers, and seasonings.
Jambalaya: (jam-bah-lah-ya) A traditional Southern rice dish, well seasoned mixture of meat, vegetables and rice cooked in a single pot.
King Cake: Traditional Mardi Gras cake, decorated in gold, purple and green, and served at parties throughout Mardi Gras season. It's moist and delicious, and comes with Praline filling.
Lagniappe: (lan-yap) In Cajun, it means "A little something extra or special".
Laissez-les Bon Temps Rouler: (lez-ay lay born tome rule-air) in again Cajun, the phrase means "Let the good times roll!".
Maque Choux: (mok shoo). A traditional dish of Southern Louisiana. Made with corn, green bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion. Traditionally, these ingredients were cooked with bacon grease, although this is now more often substituted with various combinations of oil, butter, or cream and seasoned with salt and black pepper.
Mardi Gras: Literally mean "Fat Tuesday", the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras starts on the12th night after Christmas and builds to the finale on "Fat Tuesday". Mardi Gras parties abound during the whole period, but the big day is "Fat Tuesday". But remember, it's Mardi Gras all year long in New Orleans.
Marinade: A mixture of liquids and seasonings in which foods are soaked before cooking. Marinades are very important part of Louisiana cuisine.
Mirliton: (mirl-u-tahn) Mirliton is a favorite vegetable of South Louisiana. For this special treat the insides are cooked like squash, and mixed with Tasso ham and Cajun Spices and stuffed into the vegetable.
Molasses: LA. is a land of abundant sugar cane and Steen's has been making delicious cane syrup and molasses from sugar cane, the old fashioned way, for over five generations. Molasses is made by cooking cane syrup down to a think consistency, giving a rich and robust flavor and color.
Muffuletta: is a N.O. French Quarter sandwich originating along Decatur St. near the Old french Market. Ham, salami and cheese are stacked with Muffuletta Olive Salad on a round loaf of Italian bread. It's served hot and delicious! The olive salad makes this sandwich outstanding.
Okra: is a vegetable brought to the US by Africans. It is used to thicken and flavor gumbo.
Pain Perdu: (pan-per-doo) is French toast (literal translation is "Lost Bread"). You can call it French toast.
Pecan: (peh-kawn, not pee kan) comes from the orchards of pecan trees that flourish throughout Louisiana. Kennett does well in growing these trees.
Pirogue: (pee-roe) is a Cajun swamp boat.
Po' Boy: is any sandwich served on french bread and usually served with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Po' Boy are made with everything from fried shrimp, oysters, crawfish and catfish to roast beef or other lunch meats.
Praline: (praw-leen) is a delicious sweet New Orleans candy made with pecans, brown sugar and cream.
Red Beans and Rice: A traditional New Orleans dish with red kidney beans, rice, seasonings and Andouille sausages.
Remoulade (rem-oo-lard): is a spicy sauce used with shrimp and other seafood.
Rous: (roo) is a slow-cooked mixture of flour and oil. Adds flavor and body to Gumbo and other Cajun dishes.
Sauce Piquante: is a thick, sharp flavored sauce made with roux and tomatoes that is highly seasoned with herbs and peppers and simmered for hours.
Tasso: (tah-so) is a think cut highly seasoned smoke cured ham. Used for seasoning in beans, gumbo, vegetables and many other Cajun dishes. It is an important. ingredient in Cajun cooking.
Trinity: Reverent slang in S. LA. cooking for celery, onions and bell pepper, which are used in many, many Cajun recipes.
Turdurken: is a "Cajun Bird". A turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken and stuffed with lots of Cajun dressing seasonings. Never ate one but will someday.
Zydeco (zie-de-coe): is Cajun country music with black influences. Want more music look for Zydeco & Cajun, New Orleans Dixieland Jazz and Mississippi River Blues, Swamp Pop, and Mardi Gras music sections a most southern music stores.
As they say, "That's All Folks".
Have A Happy
Larry Eiker is a Kennett resident who enjoys traveling all over the world and experiencing great food, while bringing some of those ideas back home to the Bootheel to share with others.